Woman avoids jail after beating sister-in-law during Boxing Day fight

Thursday, March 14, 2024
 – A woman who assaulted her sister-in-law on Boxing Day will not go to jail.

Emma Varrall reportedly acted ‘like a wild animal’ when she beat up her brother’s wife.

The 49-year-old punched and kicked Debbie Hook, in an unprovoked attack after drinking alcoholic drinks Prosecco and Bailey’s, leaving her with bruises on her face and body and a shoe imprint on her back.

A court heard the attack had split the family in two, with hopes of reconciliation very dim.

But a judge spared Varrall jail as he handed her a suspended sentence and ordered her to pay her victim, who feared she would die in the attack, £1,000 in compensation.

As Varrall, from Deal in Kent, sat in the dock, her brother Spencer and his wife Mrs Hook, both 53, watched from the public gallery.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how their Boxing Day 2021 celebration soon turned into chaos.

The Hooks, along with their two children, arrived at around 2pm whilst Varrall, her partner and their children arrived a short time later.

‘All described the atmosphere as being happy and fine initially,’ Mr Wild said.

‘There had not been any issues with Emma Varrall before.’

However, at around 8pm, Mrs Hook found her sister-in-law who had downed Prosecco and half a bottle of Baileys shouting with her daughter.

Varrall’s son had also become involved in the fracas and, as the three were grabbing each other, Mrs Hook intervened, shouting at them to stop.

‘At this point, [Varrall] began punching Mrs Hook in the face; to the right eye and bottom lip,’ Mr Wild continued.

‘She then pushed Mrs Hook to the floor before kicking her and stamping on her back.’

Mr Varrall added that though she eventually admitted a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm, it was disputed by Varrall that she’d stamped on her sister-in-law, whom she’d known for more than 30 years.

‘Debbie Hook was screaming at the defendant to stop but, nonetheless, she has gone on to kick and punch her to the body,’ Mr Wild continued.

Mrs Hook’s son then came to her aid and took her into the garden.

‘He describes [Varrall] as having “a vicious look” about her and saw her kicking his mum in her ribs and punching her to the head,” Mr Wild added.

‘He escorted his mum away and heard her pleading, “Don’t let her get to me.’ She was shaking and crying.’

But as Mrs Hook went back into the house to retrieve her shoes and leave, the attack resumed.

‘Varrall barged into her, causing Mrs Hook to crouch on the ground, and the defendant began kicking her again,’ Mr Wild said.

‘The victim was shouting at her to stop.’

Overhearing the commotion and hearing his wife’s screams, Mr Hook saw her being kicked by his sister before he was able to pull her off.

‘He described the defendant as acting like a wild animal and having gone completely crazy,’ Mr Wild said.

The court heard Mrs Hook was left crying, with her top covered in blood, having suffered multiple cuts and bruises.

Mrs Hook described the devastating consequences of the attack saying she’d even feared she would die.

‘It is still difficult to comprehend that our extended family is so fragmented because up until this we were a harmonious family,’ she said.

‘Although she was my sister-in-law she has always been like a sister to me. We have been on numerous family holidays and enjoyed happy times together.

‘She was always someone I trusted with my children and someone my children looked up to as a role model.

‘The unprovoked attack was a complete shock.

‘I genuinely believed she couldn’t have possibly known it was me she was attacking. It just didn’t seem possible.

‘I kept screaming at her to stop hitting me. I genuinely thought if she didn’t stop she would kill me.

‘I was in fear for my life.’

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